World Bee Day is May 20 

Celebrate World Bee Day by planting native plants to support native bees.

A native bee in the Halictidae bee family. Photo by James Trager.

 

Pacific, MO (May 19, 2020)–May 20 is World Bee Day. Today, native bees and other pollinators are declining in abundance. By planting native plants, you can increase biodiversity, beautify your yard, and enhance habitat for pollinating insects, like native bees.

Native bees are responsible for pollinating the majority of flowering plants, as well as one-third of our food crops. There are many specialist bees that are responsible for pollinating certain fruits and vegetables. By planting natives in your yard, you can provide a buffet for these specialist pollinators, helping fruits and vegetables thrive.

“There are over 450 species of native bees known from Missouri,” said Dr. Ed Spevak, Curator of Invertebrates at the Saint Louis Zoo. “Choosing native plants with a variety of bloom time from early spring through late fall is crucial to the survival of these important insects.”

The Missouri Prairie Foundation and Grow Native! websites have many resources to offer concerning native bees. Below are a few articles and handouts that explain the importance of native bees and the native plants that attract them.

Native Plants Help Fruit and Vegetables Thrive
Learn about companion plants that bring specialist pollinators to your yard in this handout designed by native bee specialist Mike Arduser.

Ed Spevak wrote this Missouri Prairie Journal article on Gardening for Bumble Bees.

Native Bee-Plant Relationships on Missouri’s Prairies––Another Missouri Prairie Journal article from Mike Arduser focusing on the more than 200 native bee species on Missouri’s prairies, and the roles they play in plant reproduction.

For more information on where to buy native plants and seeds, and other native plant services, see the Grow Native! 2020 Resource Guide, where Grow Native! professional members are listed.

Grow Native! is a 20-year old native plant marketing and education program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, a 54-year-old conservation organization and land trust. Grow Native! helps protect and restore biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use in urban, suburban, and rural developed landscapes. Through collaboration with our professional members, consumers, private industry, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, Grow Native! aims to significantly increase the demand for and supply of native plants in the lower Midwest–Missouri, southern Illinois, eastern Kansas, and northern Arkansas. Learn more at www.grownative.org.